In this Sunday, July 21, 2019 photo, a speedboat of the Iran's Revolutionary Guard moves around a British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero which was seized in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday by the Guard, in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas. Image Credit: AP

Manama: Bahrain on Thursday hit back at Iran after an Iranian official had criticised the kingdom for hosting a meeting of world military representatives last week that discussed threats to shipping in the Arabian Gulf and the vital Strait of Hormuz.

“This statement reflects Iran’s glaring insistence on hampering all efforts and initiatives aimed at enhancing security and stability as well as the freedom of navigation in the Arabian Gulf and the entire region,” the Bahraini Foreign Ministry said, referring to remarks by a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

Bahrain said that such meetings emphasise its constant efforts for boosting security and peace through collective work and cooperation with Arab countries and global partners.

“The [Bahraini] Foreign Ministry renews its call for Iran to stop such irresponsible statements, empty threats and any practices that can raise tensions,” it added in a statement.

Last month, Iran seized a Britain-flagged oil tanker amid tensions between Tehran and both London and Washington.

Iran slams Bahrain’s ‘provocative’ Gulf military conference

Iran on Thursday hit out at Bahrain for hosting a “provocative” conference on Gulf maritime security and for its “anti-Iran” rhetoric accusing Tehran of attacking tankers in sensitive waters.

Bahrain said the July 31 meeting was to discuss the “current regional situation” and blasted “the repeated attacks and unacceptable practices of Iran and the terrorist groups linked to it”.

Bahrain did not specify who attended but Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported the UK had called for the meeting with other European countries and the United States.

Manama said last month that it and the US would co-host a conference on “maritime and air navigation security”, set for October.

Britain said Monday it will form a joint maritime taskforce with the US to protect merchant vessels in the Gulf.

Iran has seized three tankers in strategic Gulf waters since last month, including a British-flagged vessel.

The United States and its Gulf allies have also accused the Islamic republic of carrying out several mysterious attacks on ships in the region, which Tehran denies.

The ship seizures came after British Royal Marines helped to impound a tanker carrying Iranian oil off the British overseas territory of Gibraltar on July 4, alleging it was destined for the EU-sanctioned Syria, an accusation Iran denies.